Rivlin meets Trump envoy, offers to ‘assist’ in peace efforts
In Jerusalem, president and US special representative Jason Greenblatt talk regional matters, American-Israeli partnership
President Reuven Rivlin met with US special peace envoy Jason Greenblatt on Wednesday at the president’s residence in Jerusalem, where the two discussed regional matters, the long-stalled peace process and the Israeli-American partnership.
According to a joint statement, Rivlin wished Greenblatt “success on his complex mission” and said his office stands “ready to assist on any issue as requested in order to promote advancement between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Greenblatt, meanwhile, “thanked President Rivlin for their in-depth and wide-ranging discussion, and for sharing his views on how Israel and the Palestinians could live in peace and security. Both men reiterated that the security of Israel and its citizens is of fundamental importance,” the readout said.
Greenblatt later met with Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. The two discussed “security challenges and ways to boost (the) Palestinian economy,” according to a Twitter post by Greenblatt.
On Monday, Greenblatt held a five-hour meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. The pols discussed opportunities for advancing peace between Israel and its neighbors, and tried to formulate a coordinated approach for the two leaderships on the issue of settlements.
Greenblatt told Netanyahu that “enabling the growth of the Palestinian economy and improving the quality of life for Palestinians” were important to Trump. The prime minister replied that he was “fully committed to broadening prosperity for Palestinians,” seeing the issue “as a means of bolstering the prospects for peace.”
And on Tuesday Greenblatt visited Ramallah, where he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas told the US envoy that he believes a “historic” peace deal with Israel is possible with President Donald Trump in office, according to a US Jerusalem Consulate General communique.
Abbas committed to combat Palestinian incitement, the statement said. The Palestinian leader and Greenblatt also discussed building up the PA’s security forces and improving the Palestinian economy.
The Israeli government has been adamant that PA-sanctioned media and school curricula are responsible for inciting terrorism.
The Palestinian daily al-Quds cited sources in the US Congress who said Greenblatt warned Abbas that US lawmakers are working to condition US aid to the Palestinians — with the exception of security assistance — on ending incitement, including payments to the families of Palestinian terrorists.
The US administration is currently said to be weighing how to proceed with a renewed peace effort after Abbas’s visit to Washington. One possibility being considered is a regional summit, to be held in Egypt or Jordan. If such a summit would be substantive, rather than a mere photo opportunity, Trump would be prepared to attend, sources close to the president were quoted by the Hebrew daily Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday as saying. The White House is trying to ascertain whether the Saudis can be drawn into this process, the newspaper said.
There had been fears among the Palestinians that Trump would wholeheartedly adopt Israeli positions after he vowed to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv and gave indications he would be more accommodating to Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Since taking office on January 20, Trump has spoken by phone with Netanyahu twice and has hosted him at the White House.
But the US president has backtracked on a swift relocation of the US Embassy, and publicly urged Netanyahu — during their joint press conference last month — to “hold back” on settlement building.
Dov Lieber and agencies contributed to this report.